The number of temporary jobs available in the UK rose in February this year at its fastest rate for three months.

According to the latest figures from accounting group KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the rate of temporary job creation rose from an index of 53.1 in January to 56.4 last month.

Potentially benefiting those seeking temporary work, such as students on gap years, the figures indicate that companies are "dealing with the uncertainty in the economy by moving towards a more flexible labour force", KPMG director Alan Nolan suggested.

The number of permanent job appointments fell slightly last month for the first time in nearly five years, as the recent global credit crunch started to affect recruitment. Permanent contract appointments dropped from 51.4 in January to 49.0 in February, according to the Report on Jobs survey.

Helen Reynolds, REC acting chief executive officer, commented: "The increase in demand for temporary workers once again highlights the crucial support that agency staff provide for UK employers and the opportunities that this form of flexible work provides for the workers themselves."

MPs are currently debating the Temporary and Agency Workers (Equal Treatment) Bill in the House of Commons with a view to improving rights for temporary workers in Britain.